Film Reviews

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Wishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth

Director: Rob Marshall

Several long years have passed since Mary Poppins was nanny to the Banks children, and now they are all grown up. But when Michael (Wishaw) is struggling with money and the loss of his wife, Mary Poppins (Blunt) the magical nanny returns to save the day.

Emily Blunt is wonderful as Mary, a woman who is practically perfect in every way, and knows it. She’s enough like Julie Andrews charming performance that it feels like an excellent follow up, but she also gives it a great deal of her own interpretation. It feels fresh, but also meets the expectations that you have of Mary as prim but magical, firm but also warm and caring.

For all that though, the film lacks heart. It’s rammed with cameos from the actors who appeared in the original film, energy which could have been better spent creating less one dimensional main characters. The film runs along, jumping from cheerful, bright episode to episode, and putting way too many forgettable songs in every moment, you hardly catch your breath between them. But it feels like what it is, a very thin plot with shiny set peices strung on it that don’t forward the plot in any way.

These Disney remakes are often disapointing. They seem to take the ideas of the original films, the signs and symbols of them, but forget to add things that really made us love the originals: originality, heart, genuine emotions. This one fits that mould. After watching it, I couldn’t remember a single song from the film and the only character who stood out to me at all was Emily Blunt’s Mary. There is a lot that you could take either from the original film or from the series of books that Travers wrote, and make a sparkling, heart warming sequel. But somehow, this is just not it.

See It If: you’d like a light evenings entertainment that asks nothing of the viewer, but ultimately, it lacks the sparkle and charm of the first film.


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